With Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health in question, Democrats are warning the Senate GOP not to try to fill a possible Supreme Court vacancy unless Republicans want an electoral retaliation.
Democrats are trying to use Republicans’ 2016 strategy against them, reminding the GOP that they blocked former President Barack Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland because of the upcoming presidential election.
That standard should apply to this year’s election too, according to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
“We knew basically they were lying in 2016, when they said, ‘Oh, we can’t do this because it’s an election year.’ We knew they didn’t want to do it because it was President Obama,” Kaine told NBC News.
If Republicans do try to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, Democrats might even add seats to the high court, Kaine said.
“If they show that they’re unwilling to respect precedent, rules and history, then they can’t feign surprise when others talk about using a statutory option that we have that’s fully constitutional in our availability,” he said.
“I don’t want to do that,” he claimed. “But if they act in such a way, they may push it to an inevitability. So they need to be careful about that.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, admitted that she and several other Democrats have been “talking with people who have different ideas about what we can do” if President Donald Trump does nominate a justice to the bench.
Those options include “adding to the court, including having certain circuit court judges cycle in and, and other ideas,” Hirono said.
Left-wing activists have been pushing the Democratic establishment to retaliate against the GOP for the party’s blockade of Garland for several years now, and the Democratic National Committee finally agreed that it would pursue “structural court reforms to increase transparency and accountability” in its 2020 platform.
Republicans, however, are not concerned. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that if a Supreme Court vacancy does appear, the GOP will fill it whether Democrats like it or not.
“Yeah. We’ll cross that bridge. After [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh, the rules have changed as far as I’m concerned,” Graham said. “We’ll see what the market will bear if that ever happens.”